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Chennai (Chepauk) may lose out on hosting World T20 matches

Chennai (Chepauk) may lose out on hosting World T20 matches

MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk)

Chennai’s three locked stands may lead to its missing out of the opportunity to host World Twenty20 matches in March-April next year. That was an important point of discussion during a meeting in Mumbai on Sunday between the ICC and the BCCI officials, who are also yet to finalise the total number of venues for the tournament. While the ICC has recommended five, BCCI is in favour of eight venues. A decision is likely to be taken at the ICC Board Meeting in Barbados in the last week of June.

One understands that Chepauk doesn’t feature in BCCI’s shortlist of eight venues for World T20. The TNCA, though, claims that they are on trying hard to obtain the necessary approvals so that spectators could be allowed in those stands.

“According to CMDA norms, the gap between the stands and the next building has to be at least 8 metres. But currently, the gap is only 5.4 metres, which has led to the stand-off,” a TNCA source said.

The structure in contention is the gymnasium of Madras Cricket Club (MCC) adjoining the stands. It was told that a part of the gymnasium will be demolished to ensure the necessary gap, under an agreement between the TNCA and MCC. “The Supreme Court has been informed about it and the work should be complete in a month’s time. We are confident that the three stands may be ready for use even before the ODI against South Africa in November,” the source added.

The three stands were in operation during the 2011 ODI World Cup but were later sealed by the Chennai corporation during the 2012 and 2013 editions of the IPL. The stands got a temporary clearance for India’s match against Pakistan at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in December 2013, but were sealed again. CSK, as a result, played all their home matches in the 2014 IPL outside Chennai. This year, they played the home games in front of three empty galleries,while their play-off match against Royal Challengers Bangalore was shifted to Ranchi.

Meanwhile, at the meeting in Mumbai, the BCCI was represented by an eight-man team which was led by secretary Anurag Thakur along with Sundar Raman, Ratnakar Shetty, MV Sridhar, RP Shah, Amrit Mathur and Hemang Amin.

The BCCI informed that the primary reason for insistence on eight venues was the volume of matches involved. 35 matches will be played by 16 teams from March 11 to April 3, 2016; the BCCI reasoned that with five grounds it would only make it difficult to fill up the stadium since each venue would end up hosting seven matches on an average.

An official close to the discussion said that the ICC was happy with the reasons. ICC was tackling twin concerns of cost and travel. It is understood that the BCCI has given an undertaking to take care of the travel of the teams. The official said that the ICC team would now report back to the board to discuss the costs.

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